The GN93CE is the quintessential mid-range acoustic, with a Taylor-esque feature set and a versatile preamp. It’s one of our favorite recommendations for those that want to prioritize the onboard preamp.
Takamine’s GN93CE brings together aesthetics, tonewood quality, and functionality to create one of the best mid-level acoustics we can recommend.
In our Takamine GN93CE review, we’ve found that while we don’t like it as much as the more prestigious Martin and Taylor offerings, it’s an excellent representation of what Takamine acoustics have been known for. They give you quality and functionality at a decent price point.
In our Takamine GN93CE review we’ll look at how it compares in several different categories and grading points.
Here are some of the specifics we’ve established:
Takamine GN93CE Review Comparison Section
Seagull S6: 89
- Extremely stable tuning
- Warm tone profile
- Great price point
Yamaha FG800: 85
- Solid top tonewood
- Extremely low price point
Takamine GN93CE: 83
- Solid spruce top
- Built-in preamp
Martin LXK2 Little Martin: 80
- Smaller size is easier to play
- Great sound for both strumming and finger picking
Sound, Resonance, and Overall Tone Quality
It doesn’t hit the clarity and warmth of those two guitars.
The GN93CE is a lot sharper and sounds a little weaker with more of a “plink” sound in the EQ. The tone quality isn’t bad or poor, but just doesn’t reach the same level of the nicer guitars on our list.
We would argue the tone is better suited for lead guitar styles and melodic, single-note runs.
This would be consistent with the NEX body design and the deep cutaway. It has good sustain and emphasizes right hand string contact, similar to the 114ce.
Though it’s less pleasing on the rhythm side.
It could use a low-end boost and a little more warmth, which you can dial in via the onboard preamp (more on that later).
Tone Highlights and Descriptors of the GN93CE
- Good sustain
- Thinner chord resonance
- Emphasizes the picking hand
- Less low-end and less warmth
With a solid Sitka Spruce top, the GN93CE checks off a major quality indicator in the tonewood department.
Takamine uses a laminate combination of Walnut and Maple for the back and sides, which contributes to the melodic and bright response.
Again, it’s not bad, but the solid Spruce in this guitar doesn’t seem to draw out the same range of quality tone that we get with the same Spruce top in the 114ce.
Bracing and Construction
The back of this guitar looks great with a three-piece combination.
For bracing, Takamine lists quarter sawn X-bracing where “quarter sawn” refers to the way the lumber is cut.
It means pieces are cut from each log at a radial angle into four quarters. These are both cool features, but they aren’t going to have a tremendous impact on the sound of the guitar.
The other major construction item would be the solid top, which we’ve already covered.
Preamp and Electronics Quality
The GN93CE earns its keep in the electronics category.
The TK40D preamp is one of the most comprehensive onboard systems we’ve used. While it’s not the best sounding, it’s one of the most flexible and gives you the most control over your tone.
While a pedal preamp could always be helpful, the TK40D could get along fine without one.
You have volume (gain controls), a three-band EQ, notch filter, EQ bypass option, and a built-in tuner.
The tone limitations of this guitar hold it back.
Yet, there’s no way to argue against the usefulness of the onboard preamp. Without a doubt, it’s this guitar’s strongest feature and a strength of the Takamine brand in general.
They make the TK40D preamp (and other versions of it) in-house.
Overall Value of the GN93CE
We do think the GN93CE is priced too high for what it offers.
If we cross the approximate retail of the guitar with the overall rating and compare it to other acoustics, it’s easy to see that it’s a higher price tag than what we’re used to seeing.
It’s likely the preamp — being made in-house — and the solid top are the biggest contributors to cost. As such, we’d recommend only those prioritizing the onboard preamp consider this particular acoustic, barring a price decrease in future models.
Most Ideal Fit for the GN93CE
Those who really want the preamp functionality will get the most bang for their buck out of this guitar.
The GN93CE is made for performing, so we’d recommend it most in that context.
It’s a too expensive to be a beginner’s acoustic or for just practice. If you have no intention of plugging it in, we’d recommend looking elsewhere for an acoustic that doesn’t put a ton of money into the electronics.
Our Takamine GN93CE Review Conclusion
The GN93CE is still a great choice and one of the best acoustic guitars we’ve ever reviewed.
It’s just a tier lower than the high-value Taylor and Martin options. At the price, we’d like to have an improved tone profile that competes more with the high-end acoustics. It’s the electronics that save the day for these models.
If you plan to plug in, the GN93CE is a fantastic choice, especially if you want to save yourself the money of buying a floor-based preamp or acoustic pedal.
It’s a good first performing acoustic or as an upgrade to a beginner like the Yamaha FG800.
Even if it is somewhat overpriced, the GN93CE is a winner.
Your Questions and Comments
If you have questions about our Takamine GN93CE review or the process by which we grade acoustic guitars, feel free to leave those in the comments section below.
Additionally, if you’ve owned the GN93CE, leave your thoughts and experience with the guitar there as well.
That type of testimony can be just as helpful as our own.